I don’t think anyone knows what exchange student pride is until they have walked through the center of town wearing their Rotary Blazer (FULL OF PINS) at lunch time on the busiest shopping day of the year with a smile on their face. Seemingly everyone I saw was staring at my blazer, and it was the first moment I was truly proud to be an exchange student.
“Chaotic,” is the only appropriate word to describe what this week has been.
Last Friday I moved to my second family, and I absolutely love them, my host brother and I get along amazingly well (which I already new because we were friends before I moved), and I really like how my host dad only speaks German because it makes more anxious to learn it. I started German lessons with my host mom last Wednesday and it’s really cool, because I’m learning the rules behind all the German my school friends have taught me, only it makes more sense because my host mom teachers me the reasons why things are said a certain way, whereas when I ask my school friends they say, “Because it’s German.”
At first I was sad to miss out on Halloween, but then my host parents decorated the house with pumpkins and skeletons, we had pumpkin soup for dinner, and I stayed up until 3 a.m. watching horror films with my host brother, so even though Germany does not have Halloween, we made it happen.
Saturday I traveled with Rotex 1800 and all the other inbounds to Hamburg. I LOVE Hamburg, but it made me miss good old San Francisco. The city is huge and has the third largest port in Europe (if I’m not mistaken) and I had a great time seeing all my exchange student friends again. It’s amazing how we are all so different, but we all have a connection because we’re all crazy enough to leave behind everything we have ever known in search of something new for a year.
It literally happened overnight. I actually understand German now. I don’t know what changed, but in school I know what’s going on, I understood the speech at the Rotary meeting (about District 1800’s plans for the year from the District Governor himself!), and I understood almost all the dialogue in the movies Julien (<- my host brother)and I watched despite them all being in German. It’s amazing. That being said, when trying to describe California Halloween traditions, I mixed up marijuana (cannibus) and pumpkin (Kürbis) and school (Schule) and gay (Schwule) so I ended up saying “Yeah, we would carve marijuana and eat the seeds, and then I would go “trick or treating” with my gay friends.” Gotta love having an accent.